Just gonna put this in the Pit, even though it isn’t really aimed at anyone or anything… it’s too political for MPSIMS, not debatey enough for GD, and even though it’s political in nature, not really suitable for P&E… so here we are. Let’s just file this under “Recreational Outrage: Live Edition”.
Have a friend (Dave) who is helping another friend (Matthew) start a Toastmasters ™ group here in San Antonio. Having had some experience with TM, I was asked by Dave to help Matthew start his new TM group by attending the first few meetings until Matthew builds his group up. The first meeting was two weeks ago and when it ended I sent Dave the following text:
“LOL so a club run by a Trump supporter who wants to debate politics… I may not be welcome for long, especially when I give my award-winning speech ‘Defund the military and fund national health care’, lol.”
Dave lol’d back, but I was serious - I didn’t go to the 2nd meeting because the group this guy wanted was a group I wanted no part of and knew I couldn’t keep my cool around.
Matthew, btw, is a retired gentleman, on oxygen and using a cane. In the first meeting, he ran “Table Topics”, a segment where a person has a list of questions they throw out for the group to discuss. Matthews questions were all political, and his positions were always the FOX/ONAN takes… and I responded to each one and, in my mind (only, I’m sure, lol), successfully rebutted him. (Thanks, SDMB!)
But Dave is persistent and even after telling him no about last weeks meeting, he kept asking, even giving me control of the topics we would discuss. Anyway, I told him I will come this week, “sure, I’ll do it for you and I’ll come up with some interesting questions”. So I did my best to make them non-political, including questions like “If you could remove 1 thing from your daily schedule, what and why” and “Is a hot dog a sandwich, why or why not”
Toss out a few questions. Then I get to the question “What is a controversial opinion you have” (mistake #1), which allowed Matthew to pop up, “I’ll take it”. He stands up, adjusts the oxygen tube, and gives a two minute speech about how every ‘right thinking’ person needs to be armed, that the 2nd amendment is the most important of amendments, etc. Fairly typical whitey-righty rhetoric here in America, unfortunately, but not enough for me to start a Pit thread.
Sighing, I took my “L” with grace (remember, I was trying to keep it non-political), did a few more questions, then came around to mistake #2: “If you could call anyone alive in the world right now for a 30-minute chat, who would it be?”
Matthew raises his hand. I call on Matthew. And he gets up, and says… to the best of my ability to remember…
“If I were to have 30 minutes, I would call President Trump, find out how he does all that he does. And then I would tell him that he needs to shoot all these protesters and people who are destroying property, just line them up and give them what for.”
Well, that was it for Table Topics, I decided. Just gonna get the hell on out of here when this meeting is over and never have to think about that hateful, deluded old man again. So I said, “Well, I’m out of questions. What’s next on the agenda?”, with an eye to ending the meeting as soon as possible. To which Dave responds – “John, you haven’t gone twice yet. Why don’t you take a 2nd speech so that we’re all even here for our evaluations?” (You get evaluated at the end of this segment.)
Well, I was already pissed. And I had already made the decision that these weren’t people I would care to have on my TV, much less meet in person, regardless of masks and social distancing. So I agreed, and stood up:
“Dave, thank you. I will go again as invited, and I’m going to revisit the topic of ‘what is your most controversial opinion’, to which I respond: My most controversial opinion is that middle-aged and older white American men are undergoing a mental, emotional, spiritual, and psychological breakdown and that was never highlighted better in my life than listening to you speak, Matthew.”
I turned to Matthew, looking him directly in the eye:
“What the hell is wrong with you? You just gave a speech advocating for the slaughter of your fellow citizens for the crime of disagreeing with you. Matthew – there are 170,000 people dead, 25,000,000 unemployed largely because of that New York City real estate hucksters incompetence – do you not think they have something to protest about?
And…” I continue, turning to the rest of the audience (2 other people, including Dave, but still)… “… this is what I mean by the mental and spiritual breakdown of the white, American male. Matthew here literally gives a speech advocating for the mass slaughter of his fellow citizens… of me, since I’m one of the protesters… and we take this shit as normal, act a little embarrassed about it, and then don’t say anything.
Well, I’m done not talking. Matthew, you are damning your soul to Hell. The rest of you, have a good evening and think about what this man said in relation to the sort of country you wish to live in come November and remember which side is advocating slaughtering fellow Americans. Me? I’m tired of old white men who want to hurt and punish other people for their own failings, to satisfy their failed ideologies. Goodbye.”
And I picked up my tab and left.